#motorhomes, Beaulieu, Black Knowl, Brockenhurst, camc, caravan and motorhome club, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Christopher Macgowan, Hampshire, Ian Fleming, motorhome, motorhomenews, National Motor Museum, Roald Dahl, The New Forest
A delightful stay in The New Forest this week at the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Black Knowl site near Brockenhurst; as you can see, the autumn colours are now well advanced.
A visit to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and a glimpse of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the soon to be opened 50 years Celebration Exhibit. Ian Fleming will always be remembered for James Bond but he wrote the story for his son Caspar with Roald Dahl – and the film’s director Ken Hughes authoring the screenplay. (Blogger David Bird kindly sent me a photo of Chitty towing a caravan so the car is even more famous than you might think!)
A lovely week indeed!
#motorhomes, @CAMCCollection, @motorhmenews, Amy Sharp, Angela Willis, Beaulieu, camc, Caravan Club, Christopher Macgowan, Clayton, Emmeline Pankhurst, Hampshire, Herbert Asquith, Lady Denman, Lilley and Skinner, Louise Lilley, Millicent Garrett Fawcett, motorhomenews, National Motor Museum, suffrage, Suffrage Movement, Susan Susie Hardy, WPSU
The Caravan Club was formed of one third of women members before the First World War.
SOURCE: Angela Willis – Curator, Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection.
In 1907 The Caravan Club of Great Britain and Ireland was formed (today known as the Caravan and Motorhome Club), with an aim to represent the interests of the rapidly growing number of horse-drawn leisure caravanners. Unlike the many clubs of the Edwardian era which only admitted men, this modern and progressive organisation was made up of around one third of female members in the years before the First World War.
An extract from The Caravan Club’s 1913 list of members.
The formative years of The Caravan Club coincided with the growing momentum of the suffrage campaign which sought to gain equal voting rights for women. I have been keen to discover whether suffragists (those who campaigned using peaceful methods such as lobbying) or even suffragettes (who used militant and often unlawful campaign tactics) sat among the third of women listed in the ranks of the Club. As pioneering leisure caravanners these women broke social moulds, they often toured the country in female-only parties and enjoyed outdoor pursuits more traditionally reserved for men. Surely it would stand to reason that some would be involved in the most significant political movement of a generation?
At the Club’s Collection of historic material held here at the National Motor Museum, there are two hugely significant documents which have been key to unlocking the stories of our early Club members. Two printed lists from 1910 and 1913 contain the names and addresses of each member including writers, artists, eminent surgeons and heroes of the First World War. I recently set about uncovering if supporters of the suffrage movement also sat among them and I made several fascinating discoveries.
A WSPU Hunger Strike Medal presented to Louise Lilley. Courtesy of the Museum of London.
The most remarkable story springs from a listing for Miss Louise Lilley of Holland House, Clacton-on-Sea which appeared in The Caravan Club’s 1913 List of Members. Daughter of co-owner of the Lilley and Skinner shoe brand, Louise was Secretary of the Clacton branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and was therefore a ‘suffragette’. As such, she was to become central to the militant campaign tactics promoted by the founders of the organisation Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters. On the 9th March 1912 Louise, along with her sister Kate, appeared in court at Bow Street charged with breaking windows at the War Office – one of many similar attacks which took place on the same night. The hearing was reported in Votes for Women, the official organ of the WSPU, the following week:
‘Miss Kate Lilley and Louise were charged with breaking windows at the war office, and a constable produced some flint stones as big as a man’s fist. Counsel for the defence stated that his clients were the daughters of a well-known Essex gentleman, and they felt they had a deep grievance against the government. Defendants were each sentenced to two months hard labour.’
Imprisoned in Holloway, like many other suffragette prisoners they suffered a short period of hunger strike as a protest that they were not being treated as political prisoners. On their release the sisters were presented with a Holloway brooch and hunger strike medal from the WSPU, with their homecoming being reported in the Chelmsford Chronicle: ‘A big crowd has assembled, and the appearance of the Misses Lilley, who looked none the worse for their novel experience, was greeted with loud cheers’.
Caravan Club member and suffrage campaigner Lady Denman. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.
In contrast to the exploits of Miss Lilley, fellow Club member Lady Denman of Balcombe Place in Sussex belonged to a group of suffrage supporters who were deeply opposed to the increasing militancy of the WSPU. In 1908 the young Lady Denman was elected to the Executive of the Women’s Liberal Federation who took a constitutional approach to campaigning. They were shocked at the WSPU’s tactics of targeting Liberal politicians, including keen anti-suffragist Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, yet they worked tirelessly to promote the cause for voting equality amongst their own party.
However, Lady Denman’s involvement with the campaign ended abruptly when in 1911 her husband was called to become Government-General of Australia, a country which has granted votes for women nine years earlier. Although her role in the British suffrage campaign was cut short she later returned to the UK and in 1917 was elected as the first Chairman of the newly formed National Federation of Women’s Institutes for which she is best known.
Research has also uncovered Caravan Club members who took active roles in local branches of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), another non-militant organisation headed by Millicent Garrett Fawcett. These include suffragist Miss Susan ‘Susie’ Hardy who became Secretary of the Salisbury branch of the NUWSS when it was founded in 1909. Also, Miss Amy Sharp, Chairman of the Ambleside and District NUWSS branch who achieved great success in gaining support for the cause in her area.
I was delighted to uncover these women’s stories and discover that both suffragettes and suffragists formed the ranks of The Caravan Club. Despite these women representing different organisations with varying opinions on how the vote should be won, all worked to achieve the equality at the polling station which we enjoy today.
Throughout 2018 the Caravan and Motorhome Club Collection will be commemorating 100 years of votes for women by exploring the theme of the caravan and the Suffrage campaign in a series of blogs. Keep up to date with the Collection on Twitter @CAMCCollection
Crawford, E. 1999. The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928. London: University College London Press.
Huxley, G. 1961. Lady Denman. London: Chatto and Windus.
Stone, J.H. 1913. Caravanning & Camping Out. London: Herbert Jenkins.
Note: This research was carried out by Angela Willis who is the Curator of the Caravan and Motorhome Club collection at Beaulieu. The Club has a display stand within the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu where many items of historical interest are on show.
Two of the most exclusive Rolls-Royces of modern times have joined new display The Luxury of Motoring at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu with a Wraith built in tribute to Beatles record producer Sir George Martin and a brand new Dawn Black Badge.
The 2017 Rolls-Royce Wraith is a one-off tribute to the legendary Sir George Martin, known as ‘the fifth Beatle’. Commissioned by Sir George’s son, songwriter and producer Giles Martin, the beautifully hand-crafted Wraith is packed with details that pay homage to this giant of the music world.
The titles of Sir George’s 30 number-one hit singles are embroidered into the upholstery between the rear seats, with his signature stitched on each head-rest. Other details include Sir George’s name engraved into the base of the Spirit of Ectsasy mascot. Joining the display courtesy of Rodger Dudding classic vehicle collection at Studio 434, this unique Rolls-Royce is one of nine Wraiths ‘Inspired by British Music’, built to celebrate some of Britain’s most remarkable musical artists, including The Who frontman Roger Daltrey CBE, Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks, Dame Shirley Bassey and Status Quo.
Fresh from the Rolls-Royce factory is the 2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge. The bespoke and contemporary Black Badge range has attracted a new generation to the Rolls-Royce marque. Already a huge hit with Beaulieu visitors, the glamorous open-top on display has a deeply intense and hand-polished black paintwork, with threads of aircraft grade aluminium woven and bonded in carbon fibre, a high-gloss vamp Spirit of Ecstasy with black chrome finish and bold mandarin orange interior highlights.
Though what really makes the car special is beneath its skin. Tighter and more responsive thanks to revisions to its steering, suspension and eight-speed gearbox, the Dawn Black Badge’s 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine is even more powerful than that of the original Dawn, producing 593bhp. An entirely new exhaust system announces the car’s arrival with a menacing bass baritone.
Beaulieu has an unparalleled collection of Rolls-Royces by virtue of the Montagu family connection with its founders. Motoring pioneer John, 2nd Baron Montagu opened the first Rolls-Royce factory and his personal secretary and secret mistress Eleanor Thornton was a muse for Charles Sykes, who designed the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy mascot.
A third car has also joined The Luxury of Motoring display. Just back from Retromobile in Paris is the 1913 Argyll 15/30hp. Although over a century older than the Rolls-Royces, it was just as cutting-edge in its heyday. An exceptionally well-engineered machine, the Scottish-built Argyll was notable for sophisticated features such as brakes on all four wheels and its 4084cc sleeve-valve engine. Inside, its sumptuous interior ensured that rear seat passengers rode in comfort as they were chauffeured to their destination.
This privately-owned car was originally a wedding gift from a husband to his wife and has remained in the same family ever since. Many decades later, it became one of the first historic vehicles to be restored in the National Motor Museum’s restoration workshop.
The Luxury of Motoring not only showcases a selection of the most luxurious cars ever built but tells the story of their design, the people who owned them and the chauffeurs who drove them. Spanning the golden age of luxury motoring to today’s aspirational cars, perceptions of taste and class are themes that are explored through a range of fascinating objects, films and rarely seen images from the National Motor Museum Trust’s archives.
At the glittering heart of the display is a centrepiece of 28 Lalique glass car mascots on show together for the first time. The owner of the private collection chose the National Motor Museum as the home of motoring and therefore the perfect setting to showcase his treasures. From the light radiating, delicate veined wings of a dragonfly to the heartiest falcon mascot with its thick, tapered neck which fits tightly into the mount, the collection includes majestic animals and human forms that bring art into everyday life. The collection is on loan courtesy of Dawson’s Auctioneers & Valuers at Maidenhead.
To celebrate the new gallery, why not enter a competition to say What makes your car luxury? Whether it’s fluffy dice and cushions or a must-have Mercedes, share pictures of what makes your car special. To enter, share your pictures and suggestions on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum, Instagram @national_motor_museum or on email to firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.beaulieu.co.uk/the-luxury-of-motoring/ for more details. The winner will be invited for a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of Beaulieu with exclusive access to areas of the National Motor Museum not usually open to visitors.
The Luxury of Motoring display can be seen as part of a visit to Beaulieu. A ticket to Beaulieu includes entry to the National Motor Museum with its collection of more than 250 vehicles from throughout motoring history, the new-look World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the ancestral Montagu family home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens. Tickets can be bought in advance online. For tickets or more information see www.beaulieu.co.uk or call 01590 612345.
Written by Kari Herbert
In a nutshell
The grand family home of the motoring-mad Montagu family in the New Forest and the site of one of the finest collections of cars, motorbikes and motoring memorabilia in the world. There are more than 250 vehicles on display, from early motor carriages and 1920s “gangster” cars to legendary land-speed record breakers and motoring marvels, such as a giant orange on wheels. There’s also a full-size caravan made from Lego and familiar TV show cars, too, such as Del Boy’s Reliant Regal from Only Fools and Horses and Wallace and Gromit’s Anti-Pesto van.
There are costumes to try on, cars to climb into, knobs to turn and buttons to press and a new interactive crash-test-dummy challenge. Jack Tucker’s garage recreates the sounds and smells of the 1930s and in the “World of Top Gear” there’s all sorts of crazy contraptions created for the TV show.
Beaulieu was a top secret base for special agents during the second world war. More than 3,000 spies were trained here before undertaking daring missions behind enemy lines.
Best thing(s) about it.
The monorail at the museum. We loved riding the monorail high above the gardens of the abbey and, ingeniously, through the roof of the motor museum itself. But getting up close to the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was our daughter’s favourite.
The abbey and the gardens are stunning, and have a brilliant new Alice in Wonderland topiary display. There are fascinating exhibits for budding spies in the Secret Army exhibition and in Palace House costumed guides make you feel as though you are guests of the family – you may even see the cook rustling up a favourite family dish in the newly-restored Victorian kitchen.
What about lunch?
There’s a covered picnic area and benches beside the children’s Dipstick playground. Alternatively, the Brabazon Cafe serves good food using produce from the estate gardens: a kid’s picnic or hot meal, such as jacket potato or fish and chips, costs £4.75; a kids’ hot chocolate with smarties costs £1.75; adult meals, such as large salads from the deli, start at £7.50 (soup £4.60) and a cream tea is £2.50.
Exit through the gift shop?
Yes, with a huge selection of model cars, books and motor-themed gifts, as well as homeware, clothing and toys. A radio-controlled Ferrari costs £39.99 while pocket-money-priced toys, such as pencils and rubber balls start at £1.
Travel by train, ferry or bus for all or part of your journey to Beaulieu and you get 20% off standard admission. Take the train from London Waterloo to Brockenhurst, or the Hythe Ferry across Southampton Water to Hythe. The New Forest Tour’s green route links Beaulieu with Hythe Ferry, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Lymington. By car, take junction 2 off the M27 and follow signs to Beaulieu.
Value for money?
It’s pricey, but you could easily spend a full day here. Advance tickets cost £19.50 adult and £9.50 child, for entrance to The National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Palace House and gardens, Beaulieu Abbey, the Secret Army Exhibition and unlimited rides on the monorail and veteran bus. Under 5s are free.
Open daily 10am-6pm (27 May-24 September) and 10am-5pm (25 September onwards, closed Christmas Day).
8/10, well put together and a great family day out.
The Caravan Club Celebrates 130 years since the First Tour of The Wanderer Caravan
This June marks 130 years since the world’s first purpose-built leisure touring caravan, The Wanderer, took to the road on its maiden voyage. Twitter followers of The Caravan Club Collection, based at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, will be able to retrace the steps of The Wanderer online over the Summer months.
Owned by popular Victorian Author, Dr William Gordon Stables, The Wanderer caravan travelled 1,400 miles during the Summer of 1885. It was towed by two horses from Twyford in Berkshire to Inverness, from where the caravan returned to London by rail before continuing its journey along the South Coast, reaching as far as Lymington in the New Forest.
Highlights of this pioneering journey will be shared via The Caravan Club Collection’s Twitter account along with accompanying blogs. Details of the tour will be taken from Dr Gordon Stables’ account of his travels in his book The Cruise of the Land Yacht Wanderer, along with photographs and illustrations of the caravan which are on public display for the first time.
This incredible caravan was bequeathed to The Caravan Club by the daughter of Dr William Gordon Stables in the 1960s, and can now be viewed by members staying at the Club Site at Broadway, Worcestershire, where it is on permanent display.
“William Gordon Stables was a true adventurer, with a pioneering spirit and a genuine appreciation of the great outdoors and the benefits the natural world brings to mind and body,” explained Nick Lomas, Director General of The Caravan Club. “For many Club members this is still the essence of touring caravanning and the freedom that goes with it, so we are delighted to mark this anniversary and inspire others with that same spirit of adventure.”
To keep up to date with this celebration of The Wanderer’s first journey, follow The Caravan Club Collection on Twitter @TheCCCollection or through the hashtag #Wanderer130. Followers will also be invited to share their own pictures of the towns, villages and landmarks which Gordon Stables visited en route.
The National Motor Museum Trust and its project partner The Caravan Club, are commemorating the centenary of the First World War in an innovative project Caravans and Charabancs – Leisure Motoring After the First World War. This two year project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Caravans and Charabancs will explore the untold legacy of this devastating conflict, charting how accelerated social and technological developments in wartime led to a revolution in leisure motoring in the decades that followed.
A forthcoming programme of community events, exhibitions and social media campaigns will enable the public to engage with previously unseen aspects of the National Motor Museum’s Designated Photographic Collection and that of The Caravan Club.
I am beginning to see more and more car charging points – and a recent visit to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu showed additional points there as well – the project being supported by the New Forest National Park. They are located extremely close to the museum and in fact are in the dedicated motorhome car park.
Beaulieu continues to be a great place to visit with its specialist Caravan Club exhibit.